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Something that may help us all.


chevguy
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Over the next couple of weeks i will be getting some pathology tests done on some sick and dieing Tropheus species,these guys have been treated with Metro and Furan 2 but still continue to die also infecting other fish in the same tank. Water parameters in the tank are spot on with all readings perfect.

We all put the majority of Tropheus disease down to bloat but is it?Know more over the next couple of weeks.

Dedicated or just plain stupid,hmmmm............probably the latter. :lol2:

Edited by chevguy
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how much are they charging you for this.... dedication...?

Probably not as much as should be,because there is some very interested parties involved in the findings. :zipit: Probably tell us what we already suspect but one never knows. ;)

Those of you that have had this done before either by yourself or had it done professionally please post or pm your results/findings.

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how much are they charging you for this.... dedication...?

i can see it costing $200+ and, [just to up the ante a notch or two] maybe a few live specimens?

hi chevguy

i've been down this road

i had a problem with some Petro. the vet did a full on post mortem, tissue samples and stain tests.

although nothing conclusive was found it was confirmed my greatest fear could be eliminated [fish TB]

the vet suggested that a bit more attention to water conditions could go a long way to preventing further problems. from then on, 50% weekly water changes, no more problems.

i'm not suggesting that your water paremeters are off or you're slack with water changes :thumbup:

i share your veiw that not all problems with T's are bloat. probably a similar 'bug' but it attacks the internal organs without the external symptoms.

i'm sure we all look forward to the results of the tests

good luck

cheers; Colin

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The benefits of testing a few live specimens is that a proper diagnosis can be made and a cured found (possibly).

I too would like to know the results. The problem could also be a one off in your fish only. It would good to get a few of us that have similar problems to have our fishes tested and then share the results to see if the fish have a problem/parasite that is common in all cases, which will allow us to treat future cases

I also agree that Bloat gets blamed for killing more fish then it really does.

Josh

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I too would be interested Keith. How many of the 32 are left mate if you don't mind me asking? Did you end up speaking with Jamo about it?

cheers

shane

You really don't want to know the answer to that question. :cryblow:

Be handy if he answered his phone. :roll

Edited by chevguy
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I don't keep tropheus or petrochromis, so this may be a little off topic, but I am interested in identifying clinically the specific causes of diseases in fish too.

At the moment, I have a tank of killifish that are rapidly going down hill. I have absolutely no idea why. I think that far too often fish keepers have no option other than to guess as to what is making their fish sick, by which time it is just too late. Or you add a medication almost at random and hope for the best. You can hardly imagine a responsible person doing the same for a cat or a dog.

I would be very interested to hear about your experience with pathology chevguy, and with other people's. I can imagine costs will be very high, but like you say, it might well be worth it.

I know proper care avoids most problems, but not all of them unfortunately.

Did Aline once get cultures from her trophs?

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Or you add a medication almost at random and hope for the best

Some meds actually compound the problem. We might all like to think that what we are using is helping but quite often it is just making matters worst. Melafix and Pimafix are examples of this,yes they will treat some bacterial(for lack of a better word)and fungal problems but will also make others thrive as they feed on the meds.

As you said, in most cases we are going in blind and have NFI what we are actually treating,sometimes it works and sometimes you are better off just banging your head against a wall for for a few hours,hurts less. :blink

Without having the availability to test different bacterias and such,(without great expense anyway)we can only go off of what signs we think we see and what advise we get.

Just one of the many joys of fishkeeping. :lol1:

Edited by chevguy
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Or you add a medication almost at random and hope for the best

Some meds actually compound the problem. We might all like to think that what we are using is helping but quite often it is just making matters worst. Melafix and Pimafix are examples of this,yes they will treat some bacterial(for lack of a better word)and fungal problems but will also make others thrive as they feed on the meds.

As you said, in most cases we are going in blind and have NFI what we are actually treating,sometimes it works and sometimes you are better off just banging your head against a wall for for a few hours,hurts less. :blink

Without having the availability to test different bacterias and such,(without great expense anyway)we can only go off of what signs we think we see and what advise we get.

Just one of the many joys of fishkeeping. :lol1:

This is exactly how I'm feeling right now, you have captured it perfectly. I'm not saying we should add meds blindly, but even our best informed guesses are just that without a confirmed diagnosis. Let's not talk about the limited options available when it comes to treatment.

I had never heard of melafix/pimafix being fed off by a pathogen. Do you have any more info on this, it sounds a bit scary?

- Mike

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There is in my opinion two sides to the problem.

Firstly we don;t know what we are treating.

And secondly even if we did know can we get the drugs to fight it anyway. We are fighting with are hands tied behind our backs.

Too true. Not to say that we should have open slather with dangerous antibiotics, but lets face it, diagnosis -and- treatment options are rather limited. I would suggest that proper ability to get a diagnosis comes first, then we can look at treatment availability.

Although who this 'we' is, and how it might be done... :(

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  • 2 weeks later...

Results are in. I can only say the findings were very interesting and i will let on a bit more later,but for now here is a snippet,

Tread carefully when using Furan 2.

Pathology reports on tropheus that have been treated with Furan 2 state,

Severe tubular vacuolar degeneration. The tubules of the kidney are easily damaged by treatments such as Furan 2(which is part of why they are no longer used in human medicine). This change happens rapidly as the kidney tries to process out the toxic residue from the treatments.

Hmmmmmmmmmm.................................... :shock:

What else i will say is that the symptons shown by the fish that were tested were all classic symptons of what everybody likes to think is the early signs of bloat,however the results now show that we couldn't be more wrong if we tried.(in this instance anyway)

Edited by chevguy
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very interesting cannont wait to here more about this espeically when a lot of people recommend furan2 for treating tropheus i have never used it on ours but i think its safe to say it would not be a good idea to treat any tropheus with it after reading this.

hilly

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I am also very interested in this I have troph ATM that is blowing uplike a balloon (probably dropsy). Thus far I have isolated the fish into a quarantine tank and treated the water with Metro and epsom salts. I was going to use furan 2 but I couldn't get hold of it. The guy I was going to get it off also mentioned that a metro\furan bath is a very dangerous thing to attempt and may push the fish over the edge. He recommended octozin instead. Thus far I have been treating the fish for 4 days and she is still alive and not gettng worse. I may hold off from using this drug.

cheers

rosco

Edited by rosco
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Pays to be aware of exactly what we are using in the form of "medications" for our fish(easier said than done).If more people took the time to get such tests done by known people we would all be wiser in the long run.

This was one of the findings in the report,as for what the cause of their demise is/was,whether or not i post about that,i'm unsure. :dntknw:

At this stage all i will say is............ :shock:

Edited by chevguy
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  • 2 weeks later...

Case reference: 08-148036

Diagnosis: Severe infection with protozoan: Cryptobia, with accompanying extensive inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis) and perforation of the gut, leading to a severe infection in the abdominal cavity (peritonitis).

Wet preparations of skin and gill: Low level whitespot (Ichthyophthirius multifiliis) infestation. Minimal disruption to gill tissues.

More detailed notes on all pathological changes below. Note that the most important feature, and most likely cause of deaths was the Cyptobiosis infection.

Morago tropheus histopathology

Fish 1:

6 Ichthyophthirius multifiliis trophonts (that is the mature stage of the parasite) Notably no theronts (the infective stage of the lifecycle) were observed on wet preparations, suggesting that salt was working, but would need to be continued for a longer duration to break the lifecycle.

Liver: area of cell death(necrosis) with several granulomas (a long term tissue change due to some form of irritant- in this case likely parasitic migrating worm) Majority of liver was OK.

Kidney: Severe tubular vacuolar degeneration. The tubules of the kidney are easily damaged by treatments such as furan-2 (which is part of why they are no longer used in human medicine) This change happens rapidly as the kidney tries to process out the toxic residue from the treatments.

Fish 2:

3 Ichthyophthirius multifiliis trophonts

Stomach: extensive severe gastritis (inflammation of stomach) and severe damage to the adjacent pancreas. Stomach wall had ruptured. Fish had hosted a significant inflammatory response to the presence of the parasites. Parasites were both inside(intracellular) the immune cells (macrophages) and outside cells (extracellular). Parasites were 3.5 microns x 5.6 microns in size with a triangular kinetoplast, round nucleus, pyriform shaped cell with 2 flagellae, consistent with Cryptobia iubilans.

Peritoneum (lining of gut cavity): Severe inflammation with intestinal damage and damage to the ovaries due to the infection within the abdominal cavity.

Fish 3: (Malero Tropheus) \

Stomach: extensive severe gastritis (inflammation of stomach) and severe damage to the adjacent pancreas. Fish had hosted a significant inflammatory response to the presence of the parasites. Parasites were both inside(intracellular) the immune cells (macrophages) and outside cells (extracellular). Parasites were 2.0 microns x 6.2 microns in size with a triangular kinetoplast, round nucleus, pyriform shaped cell with 2 flagellae, consistent with Cryptobia iubilans.

Peritoneum (lining of gut cavity): Severe inflammation within the abdominal cavity.

Severe inflammation of the stomach(gastritis) and gut lining (peritonitis)

Management discussion

This is a relatively common parasitic infection of African cichlids. Treatment is usually unrewarding once symptoms have been observed. See attached article on the treatments that have been trialled- in particular metronidazole. Success has been limited and at present there is no known reliable treatment for this condition.

The symptoms being exhibited by the fish on arrival from the QAP (stringy white faeces and inappentance) suggest it is most likely that fish arrived with the parasite infestations already well advanced. The white faeces is an indication of inflammation in the gut tract. The stress associated with transport is likely to have led to a proliferation of the parasite.

It is known that some fish can carry the parasite in low levels and not show signs of being affected. These “carrier” fish will excrete the parasite in their faeces, which can then be ingested by other fish- leading to infection of new susceptible fish.

Some reports suggest that diets high in animal protein may encourage the parasite to over-multiply in the gut of the herbivorous species of cichlid.

Preventative strategies

Strict quarantine of all incoming new fish for a minimum of 8 weeks. It really requires histological screening to be sure whether fish are free from the parasite. Many species can carry it. Screening would be appropriate to use to keep the remainder of your collection free of this parasite.

Disinfection of tanks using chlorine between batches of fish, with drying the second important step. Tanks should be refilled and chlorine neutralised. This needs to include the associated filter media.

Keeping tanks very clean, through removal of fecal material, helps reduce the amount of potentially infective material in the tank.

Maintain a balanced diet suitable to the species.

Further information of Cryptobia infection of African cichlids.

Cryptobia iubilans in Cichlids1

Ruth Francis Floyd and Roy Yanong2

What is Cryptobia?

Cryptobia is a flagellated protozoan, closely related to Hexamita and Spironucleus, but not nearly as well understood. Like Hexamita and Spironucleus, Cryptobia is a very tiny (single-celled) organism and, consequently, can be difficult to identify and study. There have been 52 species of Cryptobia identified in fish; however, because of its small size and difficult taxonomy, these may not all be separate species. Of the 52 species that have been identified, five are classified as ectoparasites that infect the gills and skin; seven are classified as enteric parasites that infect the gastrointestinal system; and 40 are classified as hemoflagellates which are found in the bloodstream. It has recently been proposed that the hemoflagellates be assigned to a subgenus called Trypanoplasma. The hemoflagellates have an indirect life cycle and are transmitted by leeches, whereas the gastrointestinal and ectoparasitic forms have direct life cycles.

Cryptobia iubilans and Cichlids

Cryptobia iubilans was first recognized in cichlids some 20 years ago. The organism is typically associated with granulomas (a tissue reaction) in the stomach, but systemic infections that involve the organism in blood and organ systems (including liver, gall bladder, kidney, ovary, brain, and eye) have been reported. It is not known how the organism is able to spread from the intestinal tract to other organs, or what causes the internal spread. Mortalities associated with the systemic form may exceed 50% of the infected population.

The gastrointestinal form of Cryptobia has been reported in East African and Central American cichlids, including: Herichththys cyanoguttatus, Cichlasoma meeki, Cichlasoma nigrofasciatum, and Cichlasoma octofasciatum. Our laboratories have found it in some additional species, but most of the work has been done with Pseudotropheus zebra (Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Gainesville, FL) and Symphysodon spp. (Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, Ruskin, FL).

In the summer of 1995, there was an outbreak of the systemic form of Cryptobia iubilans in cichlids at the Chicago Shedd Aquarium. The outbreak resulted in loss of 50% of the collection of East African cichlids including Cyphotilapia frontosa, Dimidiochromis compressiceps, and Aulonocara stuartgranti. The outbreak seemed to originate with the Aulonocara that had been purchased from a midwest wholesaler. While the fish were in quarantine, the infection spread to Cichlasoma meeki and C. nicaraguense housed in the same tank. From there it spread to the C. frontosa and D. compressiceps that were housed in separate tanks but shared the same water due to a common filtration system. The sick fish went off feed for one to two days, becoming progressively more listless and withdrawing from contact with other fish. Just prior to death, they would move to the surface of the water and their respiration rate would increase dramatically, suggesting that they were hypoxic (suffering from low dissolved oxygen). Closer examination of fish at this stage of the disease revealed severe anemia, with packed cell volumes around 5% (normal should be greater than 30%). Death usually occurred within 24 hours of the development of severe anemia.

Veterinarians at Shedd aquarium wanted to see how many species in their collection carried the parasite so they sacrificed 60 apparently healthy fish, and found evidence of Cryptobia iubilans in all but one (98% prevalence). These fish had granulomatous gastritis (the tissue reaction in the stomach) but no evidence of the systemic disease. The affected species included Haplochromis macula, Cichlasoma nicaraguense, Labeotropheus fuelleborni, Cichlasoma aureus, Pseudotropheus zebra and P. elongatus. Since the 1995 epizootic (disease outbreak), Shedd Aquarium has instituted a new quarantine protocol for all cichlids. All incoming cichlids are subjected to a minimum 60-day mandatory quarantine. A number of animals are screened for the presence of Cryptobia; any infected cichlid is culled.

Comparing Cryptobia and Spironucleus infections

Clinical Disease:

Both Cryptobia and Spironucleus can result in similar disease scenarios on cichlid farms. Both parasites become more serious under conditions of crowding, poor sanitation, high organic load, and handling stress. Diet also may play a role in the development of the disease. It has been demonstrated in laboratory mice that changes in the intestinal bacterial flora, caused by changes in diet, can affect the presence of intestinal flagellates, suggesting greater potential for clinical disease.

Enteric disease from either parasite may result in low level chronic mortality, "wasting" or poor growth. The effect of Spironucleus is more serious in fry and very young fish. It is not known if this is also true for Cryptobia, but there is some evidence that supports this belief. The impact of either disease on reproduction is not well understood; however, we believe that breeders heavily infected with Spironucleus produce poor quality eggs and weak fry.

Diagnosis:

Spironucleus can be tentatively identified by observing the motile trophozoites in smears of intestinal contents or feces. Identifying the parasite to genus requires both transmission and scanning electron microscopy and therefore cannot be done on a routine basis. Cryptobia is most easily detected by identification of granulomas in thin wet mounts of stomach tissue (Figure 1). Because these granulomas are indistinguishable from the granulomas observed with Mycobacterium, an acid-fast stain (eg. Ziehl-Nielson) should be used to rule out that important disease (see IFAS Extension Fact Sheet No. VM-96). In most instances, motile forms of Cryptobia will not be seen on wet mounts that are examined with a light microscope. Electron microscopy is also required to confirm the identity of this organism.

Figure 1. Typical granuloma seen in a wet mount of stomach tissue from an African cichlid with Cryptobia iubilans infection. The section is unstained and is examined with a light microscope (100x)

Transmission:

Both Spironucleus and Cryptobia have direct life cycles. Infective forms are shed with feces, and ingestion of these forms is thought to result in infection. Both organisms can live in the water column for at least a few hours. Always remove carcasses as quickly as possible when they are found, since both parasites may be spread by ingestion of infected tissue.

Treatment:

Spironucleus usually responds well to metronidazole administered in feed or as a bath. The recommended dose in feed is 1% (4.5 grams active drug per pound of feed) fed daily for five consecutive days (see IFAS Extension Fact Sheet No. VM-67). The bath treatment is 6 mg/L (250 mg added to 10 gallons of water), followed by a water change four to eight hours after treatment, repeated daily for five days (see IFAS Extension Fact Sheet No. VM-67). These regimes have been very effective for control of Spironucleus in cichlids for the past ten years.

Currently, there is no effective treatment for Cryptobia. Part of the difficulty may be that the parasite seems to have an intracellular stage. Parasites are occasionally seen in phagocytic cells, called macrophages, which are part of the immune system and are supposed to destroy foreign protein by engulfing it. Cryptobia seems to be able to live within these cells rather than being destroyed by them. This can make it difficult to treat Cryptobia because most drugs are not able to penetrate the cell wall of a macrophage. Some Florida farms have used a sulfa drug (sulfadimethoxine) that seems to help control mortalities in some cases, but has not eliminated the parasite. Experiments are in progress at the Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory (Ruskin, FL) to find an effective therapeutic agent.

Summary

Cryptobia iubilans is not a new parasite of cichlids but has received significant attention in the past few years. It seems to be widespread in East African cichlids and has been found in Pseudotropheus zebra immediately following importation from Lake Malawi, suggesting that it occurs naturally in wild fish. It has also been found in some South American cichlids, most notably, discus. The parasite usually causes a granulomatous gastritis and may be associated with chronic low-level mortality. A systemic form of the disease has been reported in captive East African and Central American cichlids. This form was associated with acute mortalities and loss of 50% of affected animals. Currently there is no effective treatment for Cryptobia. Water quality, stocking density and diet may all effect the severity of infection. Work is in progress at the University of Florida to learn more about this common, but important, cichlid parasite.

________________________________________

Footnotes

1. This document is VM104, one of a series of the Veterinary Medicine-Pathobiology Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Original publication date January 1, 1999. Revised April 12, 2002. Visit the EDIS Web Site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu.

2. Ruth Francis Floyd, DVM, MS, Extension Veterinarian for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences and Professor, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and Roy Yanong, VMD, Assistant Professor for Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Tropical Aquaculture Laboratory, 1408 24th St. S E, Ruskin, FL 33570

________________________________________

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Employment Opportunity - Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service office.

Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / Larry R. Arrington, Interim Dean

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that report makes for very enlightning reading. though in essence it does say that those fish most likely came to you with the cryptobia in a rather advanced stage of it's life cycle along with the associated internal damage. but unless we get a pathology test done we wont know where bloat finishes or this problem begins. the current selection of drugs sounds pointless and the risk of immune 'carriers' is a source of concern.

but there are a few pointers in there that suggest if we pay due attention to water paremeters, stocking levels and hygeine etc, that we should be able to keep this problem at a low level. as most of us try hard to maintain good water conditions is probably why it hasn't really come to light in the past, and we've been inclined to call it bloat and attemp medication for that problem. from what i read, the quarrantine and shipping conditions certainly played a major role in bringing this problem to the surface.

this report really starts to answer some of those T deaths questions where there are no clinical symptoms of bloat and also some of the problems other people have had with other fishes.

thank you for the time, effort and the obvious costs involved, and shareing this 'new' information with us.

cheers; Colin

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From what I've heard from very experienced Tropheus keepers, Furan 2 and metro do work on cases of bloat that are moderately advanced. If the deterioration of the intestine is due to the kidneys attempting to process out the toxins, perhaps the dosage is what needs to be looked at. Maybe metro does the same thing?

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I am also very interested in this I have troph ATM that is blowing uplike a balloon (probably dropsy). Thus far I have isolated the fish into a quarantine tank and treated the water with Metro and epsom salts. I was going to use furan 2 but I couldn't get hold of it. The guy I was going to get it off also mentioned that a metro\furan bath is a very dangerous thing to attempt and may push the fish over the edge. He recommended octozin instead. Thus far I have been treating the fish for 4 days and she is still alive and not gettng worse. I may hold off from using this drug.

cheers

rosco

Rosco; How is the little guy going?

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Interesting reading and not at all surprising.

Whilst all fish carry parasites to some degree, which live in synergy (as parasites do) until the fish is compromised allowing for the balance to shift I agree with Col - it is difficult to determine whether it came in from the source or from our own tanks.

In my experience with T's I now realise that there are no absolutes when it comes to understanding and advice given.

We have T colonies that are over eight years in our tanks - some may be older as they were WC - with no losses to date. And yet other colonies bought from various sources keep us on our toes with one or two suspect deaths every now and then.

I keep all meds on hand but do not use them much anymore - one no need - and secondly I will not treat what I do not know for sure anymore. Of the colonies experiencing some issues I have culled a small handful of ill fish quite earlier on and the colonies remain strong.

I look forward to more of the T community taking a proactive rather than reactive approach to fish illness as a whole - thank you chevguy for going to the trouble and expense so that we continue to learn.

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I am also very interested in this I have troph ATM that is blowing uplike a balloon (probably dropsy). Thus far I have isolated the fish into a quarantine tank and treated the water with Metro and epsom salts. I was going to use furan 2 but I couldn't get hold of it. The guy I was going to get it off also mentioned that a metro\furan bath is a very dangerous thing to attempt and may push the fish over the edge. He recommended octozin instead. Thus far I have been treating the fish for 4 days and she is still alive and not gettng worse. I may hold off from using this drug.

cheers

rosco

Rosco; How is the little guy going?

Richard,

Happy and healthy and back in the colony :wub . I also saved one head and tail affectionately known as "Nemo" my first troph baby. She held onto three heads and tails for 3 days after I quarantined her. I lost 2 through my own stupidity <_< thus Nemo is one remaining. I didn't use furan 2 I used one tablet of metro in 15 litres and as per Craig's Thompson's recommendation on another post and personal PM (thanks heaps Craig :thumb), I started a salt treatment .

For those who are interested: I added 3 tablespoons of Epsom salts (for 15 litres of water) day 1, 2 day 2, 2 day 3 (small water change to remove old uneaten food), and 1 day 4 then she started showing signs of improvement so I stopped adding salts. I moved her back into the colony after 12 days of isolation with her being fine and eating well for 5 days.

chees

rosco

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